Atomic and Nuclear Physics Rapid Review for AP Physics B
For a more thorough review, refer to these concepts:
- Atomic and Nuclear Physics for AP Physics B
- Energy Levels in an Atom for AP Physics B
- Three Types of Nuclear Decay Processes for AP Physics B
- Atoms contain a nucleus, made of protons and neutrons, and one or more electrons that orbit that nucleus. Protons, neutrons, and electrons all have mass. By contrast, photons are subatomic particles without mass.
- The electron-volt is a unit of energy that's convenient to use when solving atomic physics problems.
- The electrons that surround an atom can only have certain, specific amounts of energy. To go from a low energy level to a high energy level, an electron absorbs a photon. To go from a high energy level to a low energy level, an electron emits a photon.
- If an electron absorbs a photon that has a higher energy than the electron's work function, the electron will be expelled from the atom.
- Moving particles have a characteristic wavelength, found by the de Broglie equation.
- Nuclei can undergo three types of decay. In alpha decay, a nucleus emits an alpha particle, which consists of two protons and two neutrons. In beta decay, a nucleus emits either a positron or an electron. In gamma decay, a nucleus emits a photon. When solving nuclear decay problems, remember to conserve both mass and charge.
- During nuclear decay, mass is converted to energy. The relationship between the mass defect and the gained energy is found by Einstein's famous formula, E = (Δm)c2.
From 5 Steps to a 5 AP Physics B & C. Copyright © 2010 by The McGraw-Hill Companies. All Rights Reserved.
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